A woman who was killed in a crash early Tuesday morning off Highway 1 near Morro Bay has been identified as a local chef, community volunteer and well-known personality in the area.
Sabrina Hammerlund, 24, was found around 2:40 a.m. in a crashed Mazda sedan at the bottom of an embankment off Highway 1 just south of Morro Bay.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed Hammerlund’s identity Tuesday evening.
Hammerlund was a 2008 graduate of Morro Bay High School and worked at the Embarcadero restaurant Windows on the Water as a pastry chef, according to friends and co-workers.
She had also worked for about three years as a barista in the café of the Back Bay Inn in Los Osos, which closed early Tuesday and sent employees home following the news of her death.
Danielle Roske, a manager at the café who had long worked with Hammerlund, said Tuesday that her friend and former colleague had a way of making people around her feel good.
“She always made you feel like everything you had to say is important,” Roske said. “Especially in the café, how she treated customers — she really cared about all the customers.”
Hammerlund enjoyed volleyball and hiking and was an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan, Roske said. Roske recalled how Hammerlund would spend as much time as possible with her young niece, often visiting the café with the girl in tow.
Roske added that her friend was enthusiastic and selfless, and that the two spent time volunteering together in peer counseling while at Morro Bay High School.
“She was such an interesting person,” she added. “And she was all about her friends.”
Officials don’t know when the accident occurred, and the CHP was still investigating the incident late Tuesday afternoon.
Officer Richard Lee with the CHP’s Coastal Division said Tuesday that Hammerlund was driving a 2009 Mazda northbound on Highway 1 at some point Monday night or Tuesday morning.
Lee said the early phase of the investigation indicated that just north of San Luisito Creek Road, Hammerlund drifted toward the center of the road and over-corrected, causing her to lose control of the vehicle and drive off the east side of the highway.
Her vehicle then fell down an embankment and struck a concrete culvert near private property.
The vehicle was not visible from the highway and was discovered at 2:40 a.m. by ranch workers checking on a sick horse on the property.
Responding medical personnel pronounced Hammerlund dead at the scene.
Lee was not available Tuesday evening for a comment on the status of the investigation.
On Tuesday afternoon, a fundraising effort was organized and launched on the website gofundme.com. Within four hours of its launch, the page had raised more than $4,500 from some 65 visitors.
The Hammerlund fundraising webpage can be found at www.gofundme.com/pinksabrina.